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NFL Wild Card Playoff Game Will Return to ESPN – and Be Simulcast for the First Time on ABC

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Photos via ESPN Images

ESPN will again televise a National Football League Wild Card playoff game during the 2015 season. The game, as well as ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pre-game show, will also be simulcast on ABC for the first time. The NFL Wild Card Weekend is January 9-10, 2016.

Earlier this year, ESPN televised the first NFL playoff game in the company’s 36-year history. The Carolina Panthers’ 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals averaged a 12.5 household US rating and 21,678,000 viewers (P2+), according to Nielsen – the ninth most-viewed telecast in cable television history.

ESPN already produces Saturday night college football, NBA games and other sports events on ABC. The decision to simulcast the Wild Card game was made in conjunction with the NFL to maximize the audience across the two networks. Home to Monday Night Football for 35 years (1970-2005), the Wild Card will be ABC’s first NFL game in 10 years, since Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5, 2006. During the regular season, ESPN’s Monday Night Football games are available on over the air stations in the primary markets of the participating teams.

“Our first Wild Card playoff game was one of ESPN’s highest-rated and most-watched events ever,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “By leveraging the broadcast platform we have on ABC, the upcoming Wild Card will rank among the most-watched programs of the year and we will reach even more fans during the NFL postseason.”

ESPN’s MNF team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the Wild Card game, as well as the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl (Jan. 31, 2016) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

ESPN’s Wild Card telecast will be available on tablets, computers, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN, which is accessible in more than 93 million households nationwide to fans who receive ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription.

ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language sports network, will also continue to offer a Spanish-language production of the NFL Wild Card game.

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